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Less than picture perfect: Snap slumps on slowing user growth
May 11, 2017 / 1:08 PM / 4 months ago

Less than picture perfect: Snap slumps on slowing user growth

A billboard displays the logo of Snapchat above Times Square in New York March 12, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

REUTERS - Snap Inc shares slumped 22 percent in premarket trading on Thursday after the owner of the wildly popular Snapchat app’s user growth and revenue numbers failed to show that it was adequately dealing with rising competition from Facebook.

Snap, which calls itself a camera company, posted its debut quarterly scorecard following its hugely successful IPO in March, reporting slowing user growth and widely missing Wall Street’s revenue expectations.

Snap shares plunged to $17.88, just above their initial public offering price of $17. If the stock opens at that price, nearly $6 billion of Snap’s market value will be wiped off.

”The 7 million daily active users net-adds were not strong enough to disprove the ‘Facebook is crushing Snapchat’ thesis,“ which we think will persist for a while,” Barclays analyst Ross Sandler wrote in a client note.

Analysts, including Sandler, on Thursday revised their expectations for the stock with at least seven brokerages lowering their price targets. The median price target on the stock is $24.

Facebook Inc had also plunged after posting results for the first time in 2012, but has since ensconced itself as a Wall Street darling by transforming the company into an advertising giant.

Snapchat is battling Facebook for users on multiple fronts.

Instagram, owned by Facebook, has more than 200 million people a day using its Stories while WhatsApp Status, launched in February, has more than 175 million daily active users.

Both applications mimic Snapchat, allowing users to post a string of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours.

Facebook also allow users to tweak photos on their smartphones with visual details like a rainbow or a beard of glitter, also similar to Snapchat.

Facebook itself had some 1.94 billion people using its service monthly as of March 31.

Snap’s daily active users (DAUs), on the other hand, rose 36.1 percent to 166 million in the first quarter from a year earlier, marking a slowdown from the 47.7 percent rise for the fourth quarter and 62.8 percent jump for the third quarter.

Questions about the company’s ability to monetize its product - a hit with millennials - remained as well.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) was 90 cents in the first quarter, up from 32 cents the same quarter a year earlier, but below the $1.05 per user in the fourth quarter of 2016.

“Snap came to the public markets just as its user and monetization growth were both starting to meaningfully slow. It now faces incrementally fierce competition from deeper-pocketed rivals including Facebook,” Instinet LLC analyst Anthony DiClemente said.

Reporting by Narottam Medhora in Bengaluru; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh

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